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Delayed Hypersensitivity

Max Samter, MD
JAMA. 1968;206(7):1577. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03150070115037.
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"Delayed hypersensitivity" is an inflammation produced by small lymphocytes which—after sensitization to certain antigens—attack these antigens when they persist or return. Such antigens include small chemicals attached to carrier molecules, bacterial fragments, homografts, and heterografts.

Fifty years ago, the function of lymphocytes was unknown; we know now that they are guardians of our integrity as a species. The small lymphocyte, the subject of this volume, not only carries the immunological memory of the host and instructs large lymphocytes to produce antibodies when antibodies are essential for survival, but it also has specific functions of its own. Small lymphocytes participate, as cells, in immunological reactions; unlike large lymphocytes, they do not release their antibodies, but carry them to the site of contact with the antigen.

The book raises fundamental questions which are carefully worded, and provocative. Is it possible, for instance, to transfer sensitized small lymphocytes and, thus, delayed sensitivity from


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